Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

The Resurrection: Eyes on Jesus

Excerpts from the gospel reading for the day is one of the most excellent:

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”  They stopped, looking downcast.

One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”

And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”

They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.  But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place.  Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.  Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.  As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.

But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”  So he went in to stay with them.  And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.  Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”  So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”  Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Luke 24:13-35

In his homily, Monsignor made a couple astounding points.  "[The disciples'] eyes were prevented from recognizing him," Monsignor conjectured, because they were "downcast."  The disciples were not looking for Jesus in those darkest days of human history; they were looking at the ground.  They thought that He was done and that they were abandoned.  We must not focus so much on ourselves and on our own problems that we miss Jesus even while He is there with us, teaching us, and setting our hearts aflame - if only we will look to Him and listen.


I would like to point out that the disciples actually recognized Jesus for who He is in "the breaking of the bread," the Eucharist.  Hearing the Word of God explained to them prepared them to receive the Word of God into their fellowship and into their very bodies.  I would also like to point out that the disciples conversed with Jesus, frankly expressing their troubles and their doubts to Him.  That honesty is part of sincere faith for those who have troubles and doubts.

If we bring our even our dashed dreams and deepest despair to Jesus, who knows what he might make of them?  Keep praying.  After you have said your peace, listen in prayer.  Speak with other disciples.  Read the scriptures.  Confess your sins, if needs be.  Visit the Eucharist at church, hear Mass, receive communion.  Don't give up on Jesus, and try not to be downcast, but fix your eyes on Him and look for Him.  He is risen!

(Lastly, here's a link to the Men of Emmaus, a Catholic fellowship for men based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, for those of you who might be looking for fellow disciples and who live in the area.)

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